AmphibiaWeb - Ichthyophiidae
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Ichthyophiidae

56 species in 2 genera

Commonly Called Asian Caecilians, Fish Caecilians, Asian Tailed Caecilians


Ichthyophis bannanicus
Photo by Nikolai Orlov
(Click for family gallery)

Ichthyophiids can be diagnosed by the combination of partial external division of the atrium and a long anterior pericardial space. These caecilians have true tails (like rhinatrematids) with caudal vertebrae, generally a counter-sunk lower jaw, an advanced dual jaw closing mechanism and primary annuli subdivided by secondary and sometimes tertiary annuli (absent in the genus Uraeotyphlus). Annuli in some species are straight posteriorly but angled anteriorly when viewed ventrally. Dermal scales are found in annular grooves. The tentacular opening lies between the nostrils and the eye or closer to the eye, or anterior on the snout below the nostril (as in Uraeotyphlus). Unlike rhinatrematids, ichthyophiid skulls are more solidly roofed (stegokrotaphic). The mouth may be terminal or subterminal. Members of this family may reach 500 mm, with the smallest species at 135 mm total length. Clutches are laid in moist soil or a burrow near water (ponds or streams). Females attend their clutches until larvae emerge to complete their metamorphosis in water.

Much is still unknown about the natural history of these species.

Ichthyophiids are found in South and Southeast Asia. The family Ichthyophiidae has undergone some taxonomic revision, and now includes Uraeotyphlus, formerly placed in its own family (see Wilkinson et al. 2011).

Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Fossorial, Terrestrial
  • Occurs in a variety of habitat, primary and secondary forests, agricultural fields or plantings (e.g., tea plantations)
  • Adults have a true tail although short with caudal vertebrae
  • Eggs are laid in moist soil or underground chambers near water where the female cares for the eggs until the larvae hatch. The gilled larvae then move to nearby water (standing or moving) to complete development
  • Morphological features include: 1) distinct primary annuli, divided by secondary grooves; 2) generally a counter-sunk lower jaw, an advanced dual jaw closing mechanisml; 3) mouth terminal or subterminal; 4) dermal scales present in primary grooves; 5) skull solidly roofed (stegokrotaphic)
  • Distribution limited to South and Southeast Asia
Ichthyophiidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Wilkinson, M., San Mauro, D., Sherratt, E., and Gower, D. J. 2011. A nine-family classification of caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona). Zootaxa 2874: 41-64.

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Genus Ichthyophis (49 species)
Ichthyophis acuminatus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis alfredi account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis asplenius no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis atricollaris no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis beddomei account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis bernisi no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis biangularis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis billitonensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis bombayensis no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis cardamomensis account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis catlocensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis chaloensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis daribokensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis davidi account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis dulitensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis elongatus account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis garoensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis glandulosus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis glutinosus no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis humphreyi no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis hypocyaneus account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis javanicus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis khumhzi account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis kodaguensis no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis kohtaoensis account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis lakimi no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis laosensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis larutensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis longicephalus account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis mindanaoensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis monochrous no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis moustakius account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis multicolor account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis nguyenorum no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis nigroflavus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis nokrekensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis orthoplicatus no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis paucidentulus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis paucisulcus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis pauli no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis pseudangularis account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis sendenyu account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis sikkimensis no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis singaporensis no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis sumatranus no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis supachaii no account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis tricolor no account photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis weberi account no photos no sound/video
Ichthyophis youngorum no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Uraeotyphlus (7 species)
Uraeotyphlus gansi account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus interruptus no account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus malabaricus account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus menoni account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus narayani account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus oommeni no account no photos no sound/video
Uraeotyphlus oxyurus account no photos no sound/video


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